Living Life Poetically

Living Life Poetically: To Hope or Not to Hope

To Hope or Not to Hope is the third and final poem in my series of unfortunate poetry. I came up with the term “soul suicide”, which means making the conscious or subconscious decision to completely give up hope. It’s going through life like a robot–going through the motions with no fire burning inside you. It’s not the death of flesh but the death of the soul.

The poem is inspired by Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be” from Hamlet. However, it asks the question: to hope or not to hope.

I had written this poem at a time when nothing seemed to be working out. Years of hard work seemed to be all in vain, and I was beginning to think, ‘What’s the point? Maybe I’m better off not hoping—for literally anything.’ I guess the logic there is that if I don’t hope for anything I won’t ever be disappointed.

This poem is me processing these thoughts and realizing a deeper meaning:

Faith is keeping hope alive no matter how bleak the situation.

If you feel like you’ve experienced a soul suicide, I hope this poem helps you find that meaning in your life.

This post was last updated 10/31/22

To Hope or Not to Hope
Photo Credit: Original image by Canva. Edited by E. Ballay

To hope or not to hope, that is the question.

Is it better to stop feeling, trying–hoping?
Yes…To hell with everything I’ve ever wanted or hoped for.

A dark horizon, no prospects, no signs of anything good to come–
Why not stop feeling, trying–hoping?
It seems a beautiful dream, not to dream.

But let’s pause.

It is said that faith is the belief in things hoped for.
So, if hope dies and nothing is hoped for, faith dies also.
The enemy wins.

A dark horizon, no prospects, no signs of anything good to come.
Can sometimes be the reality.

To stop feeling, trying–hoping?
No. To lose hope is to lose faith.
A death not of flesh but of soul.

Perhaps the enemy’s greatest victory and my greatest defeat.

By E. Ballay

Written May 5, 2015

Conclusion: “Series of Unfortunate Poetry”

It’s only when I look back at the three poems in my series of unfortunate poetry that I realize a progression between the first, second, and third. As promised, here it is:

1. “Empty (2013)”: Complete hopelessness. Feeling empty.

2. “Pain Brush on a New Page” (2014): A little more inspired. At least enough to try to turn things around and not give up on myself or on my goals. But still, nothing seems to be working out. Pain is brushed on every new page.

3. “Soul Suicide” (2015): Okay then, nothing is working out for me. That seems to be the trend. However, I can’t give up hope. That would be soul suicide. Things not working out as planned is a test of faith and endurance. It’s never meant to be a final life-sentence…Starting to realize the bigger picture.

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